But that's just the beginning of the mystery. Because the more they learn about the man and the baffling circumstances of his death, the less they understand. Was it an impossible crime? Or something stranger still...?
No one but Stephen King could tell this story about the darkness at the heart of the unknown and our compulsion to investigate the unexplained. With echoes of Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon and the work of Graham Greene, one of the world's great storytellers presents a surprising tale that explores the nature of mystery itself.
©2005 Stephen King; (P)2005 Simon & Schuster Inc. All rights reserved. AUDIOWORKS is an imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division.
King wrote the ultimate gotcha and did it masterfully. If you pick the book based on the cover art you are going to be disappointed. Try reading the story description and imagine how SK would deliver the ultimate, nonstereotypical mystery. Reader beware!! This book will make you think.
Don't be scared off by reviewers who expected a formulaic clone, and are angry they got something more complex and nuanced.
All of the vitriol in other reviews seems to come from expectations that as a reader, you deserve clear solutions; that you shouldn't be left to speculate, or actually made to think about a story; that the answer should be spelled out in nice big letters. It would be a shame to see this gem tossed aside because it's not enough like other books.
To start with, this is not a mystery story. It is a story about the nature of mysteries. The point of the novel is not to tell the story of an unexplained death; it's to tell the story of the story, it's impact on those who hear it, and to explore how unanswered questions affect us.
It's fantasy to think that every mystery can be solved, that every loose end can be neatly tied up, and that every story has a tidy ending. This one doesn't, and it's a much better book because of it. Go in to this audiobook with an open mind, and you're sure to enjoy it.
This book is made up of what Stephen King is famous for - developing characters that you get attached to. The hardest part about reading The Stand or The Dark Tower is when it ends and you have to say goodbye to all the characters you've become so accustomed to. If you're looking for a good mystery that has a clean beginning and end, go read Sherlock Holmes. If you want a short glimpse into the lives of two old men in a slow moving town and share their views of the world - you'll really enjoy this.
One of the earlier reviewers nailed this story perfectly. This is the story of a story. I have to admit that I am biased. I have read almost everything that Stephen King has written and there is very little that I didn't love. Taking that into account I enjoy this story most because of it's differences from the "normal" King story. The style is still very much King but the tale is unique among his works. All in all, this is a great story and well read, too.
When I saw this book was 3:49 in length I held back, I'm so use to Kings "usual" novel length books that this seemed a bit on the short side to me, then I remembered his very early short story works and how much I enjoyed them and thought "what the hell, lets give it a try" I'm very glad I did, great read, very enjoyable, but dont be looking for his "scare the hell out of you stuff" this is his Maine kicked back characters spinning a yarn, and King does it flawlessly. Its like Garrison Keillor on a Maine shore instead of a Minnesota lake.
And you ask why 4 stars instead of 5 then? Well I'm selfish, and don't give out many 5's, and no I didn't want it to end after 3:49...but truthfully its perfect just as it is and 5 stars are deserved....but I'm not changing my vote, maybe he'll write MORE next time!
(first time I have heard this narrator but he did a very good Maine accent, and has a solid and enjoyable voice)
Overall, I enjoyed the book. Not the best one i've ever read, but entertaining nonetheless. I noticed quite a few people comlain about the ending (or lack thereof) and I just keep asking myself this: "Did any of you pay attention to anything the book said!?!" Sure, being used to the nice, tidy packages that we are used to having our stories handed to us in, I was kind of expecting a last-minute "guess what, here's the answer to all your questions." But I was actually glad when it didn't come. I mean, that would have been like King saying, "well forget every point I've tried to make this whole book, here's what you want to hear." This book actually got me thinking. It made me reflect on how we rarely get to understand everything that we want to, and sometimes that's for the best. It gives us the chance to expand our minds and excercize our wonderful cognative potential. I for one was glad King didn't spoon feed me the answer, but left the rest of the story up to me. It's a brave thing to do when everyone is a critic, but I say Bravo, Stephen King, Bravo!
The story is very laid back and the pace putters along, much like the two old guys who act as narrators. But the story is good and, even though the story-in-the-story begins with a "do you know any tales that are truly unsolved mysteries?" question, you still hope that in the end you'll find out what really happened.
But it's still vintage King and the characters are interesting--if maybe a bit boring this time around--and you do find yourself not just caring, but thinking about the story days later.
On the other hand, it's also pretty short and the whole non-ending is kind of annoying and, again, the characters--and story--are sometimes a little boring. I'd give the story three and a half stars if I could.
My favorite review was Anthony in Utah who described it as follows: "The best way to describe this booklet is to imagine a CSI episode told to you by two old men who forget how the show ended."
That's it exactly!
You,ve got the latest Stephen King in hand and you're ready for something strange and wonderful. A tale that is more than what it appears, and then again, not, posessing that something that unsettles then slyly reassembles in a somehow different way. Isn't it just like King to give us just that? And isn't it just like Your Strangeness (affectionately) to deliver a "fooled you, didn't I?" I wasn't expecting a supernatural-free yarn, that hints at The Unknown but never really goes there. It is not often that King steers clear of otherworldly matters and becomes the storyteller of old. Although I think he handled the task much better in "The Body" and my personal favorite, "Shawshank Redemption"... as someone once said everyone loves a mystery; and I indeed enjoyed this one. We are presented with an inexplicable death (or was it a murder?), while being introduced to three "sweet" and interesting journalist on a small island newspaper. I missed the depth of characterization seen in most of King's work, but I liked them all the same, and added them to the list of people I know in Maine but haven't yet met. Mystery fans will enjoy this one, especially if like me, you like to don the cap with the puppy ears tied atop while proclaiming that "the game is afoot".
If you were judging a book by its cover you might think this is a "Mike Hammer" or "Sam Spade" type novel but you would be wrong. The best way to describe this booklet, is to imagine a CSI episode told to you by two old men who forget how the show ended.
If rumors are true, this could well be King's last novel. And he pulled the ultimate surprise on his readers. As expressed in this book, a finished story with all the loose ends tied up neatly makes people happy. An unsolved mystery, though, leaves people unsettled and craving. This book is an example of the premise of its storyline. Read it, grouse about it, but then notice how your mind keeps worrying it and turning it over and over and over....
If you want one of those nice neat packages, this book isn't for you. But, if you want a REAL mystery (ala King style) grab this one.
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